Citing sources familiar with the discussions, CNBC reported that private equity firm Thoma Bravo is in "early discussions" with TPG Capital, which owns a majority stake in McAfee, and Intel to buy the security firm at a premium over its last valuation of $4.2 billion.
Intel shares were down 0.9% to $47.86 in Friday's trading.
McAfee, which was founded by John McAfee in 1987 and became well-known for its antivirus software, has undergone a few ownership changes in the past several years.
McAfee was publicly traded until Intel purchased the firm in 2010 for $7.6 billion in the hopes that it could incorporate McAfee's suite of security products into its chipmaking business. In 2016, however, Intel sold 51% of the business to TPG Capital for $4.2 billion, and in 2017, TPG brought Thoma Bravo aboard as a minority investor. Intel retained its 49% stake in McAfee.
Under TPG's ownership, McAfee has broadened its portfolio with two acquisitions: Tunnelbear, a VPN service, and Skyhigh Networks, a cloud security startup.
An agreement to sell McAfee to Thoma Bravo isn't assured, according to CNBC, but a deal would unify McAfee's ownership and potentially position the firm to go public again.
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